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Scottsdale crowds defy social distancing

Video taken by 12 News shows people shoulder-to-shoulder in Old Town Scottsdale and there are no masks in sight.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Even as Arizona sees warning signs the coronavirus is spreading faster than the rest of the country, large crowds filled the entertainment district in Scottsdale over the weekend.

Video taken by 12 News shows people shoulder-to-shoulder in Old Town Scottsdale and there are no masks in sight.

Congressman Ruben Gallego discussed the video during an online town hall.

“Those young men and women may want to take chances,” Gallego said. “But there are others at work who can’t take that risk, servers and bartenders, who likely don’t have health care coverage and that’s a really sad statement.”

The establishments where crowds were gathered included The District, Riot House, Bottled Blonde and Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row. The Riot Hospitality Group operates three of the venues, including Riot House. 

The company did not respond to phone calls from 12 News.

Gov. Doug Ducey also did not respond to 12 News for comment. 

Ducey has said in the past he’s leaving it up to local police to respond to venues and educate business owners if there are complaints.

Scottsdale police tell 12 News they received no complaints over the weekend. A spokesperson says the department is concerned about overcrowding.

“Our role is to provide education on the importance of following CDC and state guidelines for social distancing related to COVID-19,” said Scottsdale Officer Kevin Watts. 

“Additionally, if establishments do not respond to the education and continue to overcrowd we will be submitting that information to the state department of liquor for sanction consideration.”

RELATED: Coronavirus in Arizona: Nearly 1,200 COVID-19-related deaths reported as of June 15

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RELATED: 'We don’t want to become another New York': Amid surge in COVID-19 cases in AZ, public health expert warns change is needed

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